Preventing Injuries

Proper Supervision

It’s difficult to be everywhere at once. So, your staff must take ownership when they see a catastrophe waiting to happen.

They need to intervene and change the circumstances and prevent serious injuries.

One death trap to avoid is the “slip & slide” in which a tarp is laid down on a grassy area, the surface spread with liquid soap and water continuously sprayed to maintain the “slippery” surface. I have witnessed many accidents with this type of play with teens (who tend to engage in rougher play then younger kids) getting hurt worse.

I have seen avulsed teeth (teeth knocked out of their sockets), I’ve seen children with varying degrees of concussions due to sliding into a tree, a bench, or another camper while going approximately 40 miles an hour, and of course, the old rush to the ER for suturing up gaping lacerations.

Don’t Panic, We Can Still Have Fun

By now, you must be thinking I’m the worst party-pooper nurse ever because I believe everything is dangerous (that’s OK, that’s what my three boys think!).

But, you would be wrong. I believe in having fun. I’m the first to get up and cheer and scream and play with our campers (at every opportunity I get!).

But, it is true I would rather play safely than make the dreaded phone call to a parent having to explain the accident (one that probably could have been prevented).

Camp is about exploring, discovering self, increasing self- esteem and most important, having fun. It gives kids a wonderful opportunity to grow and learn in a healthy and positive environment that is both fun and safe.

Everybody is in this together. Parents need to be aware of all rules, regulations (usually in the form of a Parent Handbook) and available activities so they can provide their children with all the required safety equipment.

Campers are expected to comply with all camp rules and regulations to ensure the continuous safe and healthy environment at camp.

And the camp, in addition to providing a safe camp setting, should hire a qualified pediatric registered nurse (RN) to assure safety and assume partial responsibility for the care and safety of all children. Acting in loco parentis, the RN can apply the same standards of care and safety any parent would expect. So while the children are having fun, all can rest assured they are being well looked after. It is all about the total camp experience; affording the parents peace of mind while offering the children the best summer camp experience ever!

“You are worried about seeing him spend his early years doing nothing. What! Is it nothing to be happy? Nothing to skip, play, and run around all day long? Never in his life will he be so busy again.”

~Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, 1762

Elizabeth Levine, RN, MSN, is an 18-year veteran in Neonatal-Pediatric Nursing. She has been a camp nurse for seven years, and has been at Camp Judaea, Hendersonville, NC for the past six summers. Presently the Director of Nursing for Maternal / Child Services at North Shore Medical Center, Miami, FL, and adjunct professor at Miami Dade College, Miami, FL, where she teaches Pediatric and Obstetrical Nursing. She has three camp-age boys and is working on her dissertation towards a PhD in Nursing.

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